Learning from Lived Experience: Survivor Knowledge from the Holocaust, Antebellum Slavery, and Contemporary Slavery

By Christy Bailey-Tomecek - May 4, 2021

Save the Date: May 6, 2021, 12:00 PM ET

This panel discussion addresses core ideas about what survivors know, and what testimonies and experiences of survival tell us. Scholars of antebellum slavery, the Holocaust, and modern slavery will share their research and analysis of the importance of lived experience and testimony. The goal of the panel is to place new ideas, time periods, and spaces of forced labor in dialogue, exploring commonalities and differences in time and place.

Panelists will highlight a particular narrative from their relevant research area. Following the program, these narratives, with brief introductions drawn from the panel remarks, will be available on the sponsoring institutions’ websites.


Stephen Naron, Director of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
Luis C.deBaca, Gilder Lehrman Center Senior Fellow in Modern Slavery at the MacMillan Center at Yale

Opening remarks

Dr. Minh Dang, Rights Lab, University of Nottingham, and Executive Director of Survivor Alliance

Title of presentation: Epistemology of Survival

Dr. Dang will discuss a new theory of knowledge called the epistemology of survival, exploring the idea that survivors know and understand slavery and freedom differently from non-survivors. She argues that adopting such an approach will improve the incorporation of survivor knowledge in academic literature, and radically alter the wider field of anti-slavery knowledge and practice to focus on freedom after slavery—creating possibilities for what Frederick Douglass called "a full freedom."


David Blight, Sterling Professor of History and Director, Gilder Lehrman Center: 19th-century slave narratives
Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History at Yale: 20th-century forced labor in the Holocaust and Gulag
Andrea Nicholson, Rights Lab Research Fellow in Survivor Voices: 21st-century slavery survivor narratives


Moderated by Zoe Trodd, Director of the Rights Lab, University of Notthingham

Closing Remarks

Luis C.deBaca, Gilder Lehrman Center Senior Fellow in Modern Slavery at the MacMillan Center at Yale

When: 12:00 PM– 2:00 PM, Thursday, May 6, 2021
Register: https://yale.zoom.us/webinar/register/7016159209039/WN_-B3oexXLTkKJ703d3LBHdQ
Registration is free.

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